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Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)

by on 2013/01/20

caravan_of_courage_1984“A rock? These little bears are nuts.”

* * *

The Caravan of Courage was constructed out of hand-crafted cuteness by skilled cute craftsman using only the finest fluffy fur, gossamer curls, and tiny, tiny ponies.

Yupyup – as they say in Ewokese. Rejoice – for there is bountiful cuteness in on this Endor-able planet.

The furry little gang is all here. There’s Wicket, played by the hardest working actor in show business, Warwick Davis (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), and his furry, adorably growly little Ewok family.

There’s Widdle played by Tony Cox (The Warrior’s Way), and Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall) as Weechee.

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure was a made-for-TV movie that aired in the U.S. in November 1984.

Heady, heady times, the 80s.

I can just imagine the genesis of this project now. “Say George Lucas, people sure love the crap out of those Ewoks you came up with. We still have the costumes from Return of the Jedi… why not write up a story for television? We’ll get someone else to direct. It will be …great.”

After the credits rolled on this Star Wars property, I thought I now understood just a little bit better George Lucas’ need to control everything, his mania to improve special effects, tinker, tweak and overhaul.

He’s got reasons – a caravan of reasons. (And a sack full of Holiday Special reasons as well, I guess).

The action centres on a family that has gotten separated after a starcruiser crash. Mom and Dad played by Fionnula Flanagan (Yes Man) and Guy Boyd (Body Double). Their kids are Mace (Eric Walker) and Cindel (Aubree Miller).

Cindel is all blue eyes and the gossamer curls that I referred to earlier. She’s like a baby angel who misses her mommy and daddy. Fortunately for Cindel and Mace, they stumble upon the Ewoks.

I should warn at this point, the confluence of Wicket and Cindel on the small scene causes a sweetness tsunami so powerful it will actually make your teeth ache to watch. She’s got white golden curls, a white outfit and adorable (on her only) white headband. Wicket is, well, Wicket – your favourite teddy bear come to life.

Mace, on the other hand, is not cute. He’s Cindel’s angry, angry older brother. He looks just a little like Mark Hamill’s second cousin – the second cousin with a dark and troubled past, and nothing to lose. He’s so mad, he shouts at Ewoks and waves his weapon around.

Ok, he’s lost his parents to a giant monster thing called the Gorax, and his sister is not feeling well. But shouting at Ewoks? No one is that angry.

Mace sets out on a hero’s journey with his cherubic sister. Along the way, inexplicably, he amasses a band of furry super friends including a wizardy furry guy Izrina and a strong man Chukha-Trok. They are adorably helpful.

In the climax, the band of fur and friends, they fight off some cheap-looking, factory second Halloween decorations. Fortunately, most of the Halloween decorations are foiled by the complete lack of railings in the Star Wars universe. (They just want one railing, right here).

Not even Sam the Snow Man as the narrator, I mean, Burt Ives, can make the whole uneven, ham-handed mess make sense.

Poor, poor George Lucas. Mr. Lucas, I understand now. I do.

That said, I liked my return to Endor.

Ewoks, man. I love the crap out of them.

* * *

96 minutes

Rated PG for Poor (poor) George, and scenes with terrifying Halloween decorations fighting teddy bears.

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